Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
especially welcome to extensive readers

Monday, November 16, 2015

Reliving the glory days of Cannon Films with a bolt of Electric Boogaloo

For B-movie fans, one of the best times in the modern era was the 1980s and riding high in that arena were the double trouble duo of Menaheim Golan and his cousin Yoram Globus who turned Cannon Films into a major movie making factory of epic exploitation proportions.

Their saga is now being told in a recently released to DVD documentary entitled Electric Boogaloo: The Wild, Untold Story of Cannon Films, which I watched over this past weekend and it certainly is as over the top as one of their movies.

Various folks involved with Cannon, such as actors Dolph Lundgren and Sybil Danning and director Tobe Hooper, share their anecdotes about working with Golan and Globus as well as explain their rise and fall in Hollywood. Both men were filmmakers in Israeli, with Golan being a director and Globus a producer, and their moderate success lead them to the U.S., where they bought the ailing Cannon Film company and turned it into a viable low budget contender on the movie market.

Golan and Globus aimed right for the cheap seats, as they started off by making sexy period dramas such as Lady Chatterley's Lover(starring Sylvia Kristel), action adventure flicks like King Solomon's Mines and Hercules, plus teen sex comedies, one of which was a remake of a movie they did overseas called Pink Lemonade(The Last American Virgin).

Golan was considered the more creative partner, who sometimes got hands on with some of the films and even put out a musical that he wrote and directed himself in 1980. The Apple was not a big hit, for many good reasons yet it has become a cult movie classic :

Cannon had a bit of a hit or miss approach to picking projects, with some causing a stir such as turning Charles Bronson's Death Wish into a franchise and others barely managing to make enough of a profit to merit a sequel.

However, they found themselves with a surprise hit in 1984 with Breakin', a movie that tapped right into the growing mainstream interest in breakdancing. While the movie did great business at the box office, which lead to it's infamous sequel Breakin' 2: Electric Boogaloo, it was hard for them to recapture that particular brand of pop culture magic.

 Many years later, Golan and Globus(who were now split as business partners) each put out competing lambada movies in order to repeat that trick but there are just some things that you just can't force into existence and a dance craze is one of them:

While Cannon did manage to make a big splash by having distribution deals with major studios like MGM and eventually launch their own stars such as Chuck Norris and Jean-Claude Van Damme, their business savvy was limited at best.

Most of their financial woes were due to raising money for films that didn't turn a large enough profit to pay back investors and continue to pay for future projects by quickly promoting underdeveloped ones.  Other bad choices included paying Sylvester Stallone a then record setting fee of 12 million dollars to star in an arm wrestling movie called Over The Top. 

That investment certainly didn't pay off well and while Cannon may have believed that arm wrestling was  going to be the next big thing, the box office returns showed that they were truly off the mark with that one:

You have to give Golan and Globus credit for not going down without a fight. As their finances were heading on a downward slope towards disaster, they took on bigger and bolder projects, making the phrase "go big or go home" have real meaning.

From their goofy adaptation of Hasbro's Masters of the Universe to buying the rights to Marvel's Spiderman(a film that never got out of the planning stages) and Captain America(which they did make) and making the supersized box office bomb that was Superman IV: The Quest for Peace( I remember seeing that in theaters and yeah, it's as bad as they say, trust me on that!), Cannon Films was not shy about making their mark on cinematic history, even if that legacy is far from an illustrious one :

Electric Boogaloo does celebrate the crazy cinematic times of the Golan and Globus heyday at Cannon, with even those who had hassles with the company finding something good to recall about their experiences.

However, the guys in question refused to take part of this film and wound up making their own documentary(The Go-Go Boys) which glosses over their failings. I'm sure that version is interesting on it's own merits but Electric Boogaloo seems to tell the more honest story that gives it's look back at that time much more engaging authenticity and resonance.

 Perhaps, I'll check out the Go-Go Boys but just seeing Electric Boogaloo makes me want to search Netflix (where I found this gem)to see how many of those weird and wild movies are still around to enjoy. Electric Boogaloo does make the wild,untold story of Cannon Films a legend that puts Golan and Globus right up there with Ed Wood and William Castle as masters of the B-movie cinematic circus that inspires filmmakers and fans alike to this day and beyond:

No comments: